Guenther Steiner adamant he won’t have any problems managing Hulk and K-Mag

Michelle Foster
Nico Hulkenberg climbs out of the Haas. Abu Dhabi November 2022

Nico Hulkenberg climbs out of the Haas during the post-season Pirelli test. Abu Dhabi November 2022

Guenther Steiner reckons his 2023 driver line-up of Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg could go on holiday together, but perhaps don’t follow through on Magnussen’s invite from 2017.

Haas have a new driver in the mix for next season with Hulkenberg signed after the team made the call to part ways with Mick Schumacher.

It could yet prove to be an explosive line-up with Magnussen having so famously told Hulkenberg to “suck my balls” after the German confronted him during a television interview after their 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix clash.

The two did clear the air at this year’s season-opening grand prix in Bahrain where Magnussen made his return to the grid after a year out, and Hulkenberg filled in at Aston Martin for the unwell Sebastian Vettel.

As such Steiner has no concerns about the two getting in each other’s way next season, and, more to the point, getting in Haas’ way.

Speaking on the Beyond The Grid podcast, he denied they’d be a handful to manage, going as far as to say his style would probably work better with them than it did Schumacher.

“I don’t think they need to be the best mates as long as they respect each other,” he said. “But I think they respect each other.

“I spoke with both of them about the other one, they’re both pretty cool about it, and maybe my management style may be better with experienced drivers then with young drivers.

“I tone down but it’s like I can tell these guys what to do, and they understand me because they know I’m doing it for passion, not to be nasty or anything.

“I think they know me both long enough as well to know I’m not the easiest guy to get along with, but I never hold grudges. I say what I say and then we move on. But I need to tell you, and you need to be strong enough to take it.”

“But,” he added, “you can get back at me as well. I’m not getting upset. Maybe I get upset at the moment but if it is constructive I take it on board and try to make it better. I want that input, how can we do better.”

Magnussen has previously commented on that balls remark to Hulkenberg, saying it is “difficult for me to understand” why that of everything he did in Formula 1 was remembered.

“I remember more sporting things and things that happened on the track,” he added.

Steiner did ask the Dane for his thoughts before putting pen to paper with Hulkenberg, also touching on the subject with the German.

But he reckons that spate from 2017 is so far in the past the two could probably go on holiday together, but no following through on 2017’s invitation.

“I spoke with him briefly but I didn’t ask do you like him or not? Obviously we need to make sure that they get on,” he told the media including PlanetF1.

“I think they get on pretty well. They could go on holiday together, they’ve got children about the same age, but don’t do what Kevin invited Nico to do a few years ago.”

He added: “They speak now. I think maybe they didn’t speak for five years but they spoke this year. I know that because I asked Kevin and he says yes he’s got a normal relationship with him.”

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